Memory Lapse
3, Apr, 23

Novelty MTG Format Resurgence Causes 1500% Price Spikes

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Article at a Glance

Within the wide world of Magic: the Gathering, there are a lot of formats for players to, well, play. The most popular of these, at the moment, is undoubtedly Commander, which exploded in popularity over recent years. Now dominating the financial markets, Commander is even leading the future of MTG via the new Eternal World design philosophy. Despite the recent surge in popularity, Commander is hardly the only format MTG players enjoy. Standard, Modern, Pioneer, and even Legacy aren’t going anywhere, after all.

Alongside these official formats, many MTG players have even concocted their own bizarre rules and formats to maximize their fun. The “Wacky Races” format, which turns Magic into a racing game, is a very recent and dramatic example of this. Considering that MTG has been around for almost 30 years, however, unsurprisingly, not all player-made formats are so new. The utterly baffling Forgetful Fish format, for instance, has existed since at least 2016, although it’s never been too popular. Thanks to a recent video, however, that may all be about to change. 

The Forgetful Fish Format

Recently brought back into the limelight by MTG YouTuber Rhystic Studies, Forgetful Fish is an absolutely bizarre player-made format. Originally the brainchild of MTG player Nick Floyd, the Forgetful Fish format revolves around the deck of the same name. Constructed around not just one, but ten copies of the Arabian Nights card Dandân, it’s safe to say that Forgetful Fish is a little bit strange. The weirdness doesn’t end there, however, as within Forgetful Fish, both players use the same 80-card deck. 

Alongside the mandatory ten copies of Dandân, Forgetful Fish decks also include eight copies of Memory Lapse. Floyd explained in their design document that these two marquee cards give the deck its name. Similarly to much of the rest of the official Forgetful Fish decklist, these two cards aren’t incredibly powerful or exciting. After all, Memory Lapse is a tepid counterspell with niche appeal, and Dandân is unquestionably a weak card. Boasting 4/1 stats and the requirement that your opponent has an Island in play to attack Dandân is borderline unplayable. Within the Forgetful Fish format, however, this unassuming fish has been given a new lease on life.

Beyond just having a funny name, the Forgetful Fish format actually offers an incredibly tactical and compelling gameplay experience. As, throughout this unique control mirror match, players are constantly fighting over the top of the deck. While Dandân may be the namesake card, this is undoubtedly the core of the Forgetful Fish experience. Facilitated through cards such as Predict and Brainstorm, Forgetful Fish matches can be staunchly competitive and tactical. Should they go on long enough, Forgetful Fish can even result in games where you or your opponent get decked out in spectacular fashion. 

Surging Popularity

Dandân and Memory Lapse

While Forgetful Fish matches can be fierce as players vie for control of the deck, it’s surprisingly easy to play. Requiring just one deck, a pair of dice to track health, and a comprehensive rules guide, Forgetful Fish is remarkably accessible. Thanks to this, Forgetful Fish decks can easily be brought out during FNM to kill time, or just for fun. Ultimately, thanks to this accessibility and eccentricity, Forgetful Fish has been beloved by a niche of players since its creation. Following the recent video from Rhystic Studies, however, this niche has absolutely exploded in popularity. 

Having painted the format as an incredibly enjoyable experience, it’s no surprise players were eager to try it out. To do just that, many MTG players have taken to card sellers such as TCGplayer to snap up their copies of the namesake card. Unfortunately for excited players, however, this was much easier said than done, as the supply of Dandân is rather meager. This is partly thanks to the card’s most recent reprint being in Time Spiral, from back in 2006. As barely playable Draft chaff, it’s understandable that few copies of this niche card have been preserved throughout the years. Subsequently, now that it’s all the rage, actually getting ahold of Dandân has become quite the feat. 

Initially, before Rhystic Studies released their video, copies of Dandân could easily be purchased for just $0.40, if not less! Now, however, the prices of these cards have skyrocketed to over fifteen times their original value! After hitting this $6 peak, the majority of Dandân printings were completely sold out, leaving only original Arabian Nights copies. Due to their age, these prized Dandân copies are even more expensive, with prices sitting around the $13 mark. 

Limitless Potential

Ichorid and Lightning Helix

Sadly for Forgetful Fish players looking to turn their decks into profit, Dandân is the only card that’s spiking hard. Being substantially more modern and frequently reprinted, many other Forgetful Fish cards are simply too common to become expensive outliers. Curiously, when devising the format back in 2016, it seems Nick Floyd knew this would happen. As to mitigate the need to rush out and buy Dandâns, Floyd included a sextuplet of proxy Dandân tokens within their design document. 

Should the supply of Dandâns not return to normal anytime soon, thankfully, MTG players interested in the format aren’t completely out of luck. As, throughout their video, Rhystic Studies highlighted how one of the format’s great strengths is its numerous variants. While many of these alternate decklists utilize the same core structure and the plethora of Dandâns, there are some outliers. Reddit user u/Krandum, for instance, pioneered a mono-black variant of the format that’s built around Ichorid. Similarly, LGS owner Ryan Overturf has proposed a Boros burn version of the shared deck concept. Ultimately, whatever your preference, it seems the Forgetful Fish format is an incredibly novel and compelling experience and one that is certainly worth giving a go. 

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